As I write this, I can still taste tonight’s beautiful dinner…
Life has been especially hectic and busy of late. My way of getting back to normal, of course, begins in the kitchen. These hectic days did include a few special features, however; being home all day on a Saturday and getting to watch all my favorite PBS cooking shows, that’s a favorite. Being nestled cozily in mid-Summer, the season of nightshades and stone fruits has had me craving some interesting combinations of these bold flavors.
On Made In Spain, chef Jose Andreas featured a smooth gazpacho, blended with Marcona Almonds. This sounded purrfect. Shortly thereafter, I stopped into Bar Toscana with my friend, Bree. Chef Luca was working on some new dishes for the Summer menu, and we got a little sneak preview…this catapulted my earlier inspiration into the genius category.
Bar Toscana’s gazpacho was studded with watermelon bits and sprinkled with goat cheese. I made a Basil, Chive and Garlic-packed vinaigrette to drizzle over my version. What did I put in the soup? Heirloom Tomatoes, Orange Bell Pepper, Garlic, Shallots, Marcona Almonds, Sherry Vinegar, Olive Oil, Pimentón, cumin and a little water…all blended together! Soooo refreshing!!
Next to the soup, my love of marinated veggies was represented. This past Sunday, I picked up some wildly beautiful Pattypan Squash that just begged to become a noodle-like slaw. Combined with thinly sliced Leeks, leaves of Cilantro and a light and creamy dressing, this slaw made a purrfect bed for a handful of toasted Marcona Almonds…I had to go back for seconds…of both dishes!!
Now, these dishes have barely left the dining room table. I’m still digesting. But, in the last few weeks, I’ve put together some more Farmer’s Market inspired meals… Let’s see what else I’ve been up to…
This filling treat was my lunch today. On whole wheat bread, I used up the last of my Cherry Tomatoes and the end of a tin of Anchovies as a base for a couple scoops of marinated Bean salads. The Lentils are the last of a salad I bought from Smart Simple Gourmet, at the West LA Sunday morning Market. I only had a little left, so I mixed them in with my own marinated Christmas Lima Bean Salad. I’ve been enjoying those beans on and off since September, and am getting near the bottom of that jar, too. A sprinkling of Hempseeds and a few sprigs of young Sweet Marjoram (from my kitchen windowsill) rounded out this deliciously rustic meal.
This sweet breakfast was another refreshing delight. On toasted whole meal rye bread, I spread some sliced, very ripe Black Mission Figs, tore some fresh Basil over the top and drizzled some Olive Oil over the whole deal…I think I cracked some black pepper over it after the picture was taken… Again, inspired by ingredients!
This is one of those situations where I just want to celebrate the ingredients. On top of some Mixed Greens, I’d placed grilled Yellow Bell Pepper, Japanese Eggplant, Shrimp and Porcini Mushroom slices. In the center is a dollop of pesto, made with Macadamia Nuts. It was filling and fulfilling!!
Interspersed with these dishes were nights out, ordering in and missing meals altogether. These highlights are certainly satisfying to remember!
I recently read, in a few places, the phrase “Evolve or Die”…kind of a recurring threat of sorts, I guess, but, in many occasions, good advice. I certainly don’t want this blog to “die”, as it were, so in the coming weeks you’ll be witnessing an evolution! I’ll be highlighting one particular ingredient each time. These will usually be something unusual or an uncommon version of a common ingredient. I’ll be using it in different ways, combined with my other Farmer’s and Super Market purchases. I’ll also be changing my layout. Starting with the next post, and over the course of the month of August, I’ll use different layouts and include a poll to help me decide which one I’ll start using in September.
Until next time, stay hungry!!